- Franken Maintains Lead in Minnesota
- Senator's Refusal to Resign Changed South Dakota Politics
- Political Ads Flood the Airwaves
- Bonus Quote of the Day
- Rubio Changes Tune on Immigration
Posts in "Safe Republican"
February 25, 2013
Republican state Auditor Mike Foley announced last week that he is considering a number of options for his political future.
He is currently mulling runs for the Senate, governor’s office, the House or another term as state auditor.
“All those options are being discussed and prayed about and thought about,” he told Nebraska Radio Network.
A House seat would open up if Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry decides to run for the Senate. Other names on the GOP radar include state Attorney General Jon Bruning and Treasurer Don Stenberg, who both lost Senate bids in 2012; Republican Reps. Adrian Smith and Lee Terry; businessman Pete Ricketts; and former state Treasurer Shane Osborn.
This is an open-seat race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Mike Johanns; CQ Roll Call rates it as Safe Republican.
February 9, 2013
Local Republican officials nominated Saturday 32-year-old state Rep. Jason Smith for the open seat in Missouri’s 8th District.
“Jason is a hard worker, good conservative,” Missouri GOP strategist James Harris said. “He fits the district very well. And he’s very knowledgeable about [agricultural] issues.”
Given the very heavy Republican bent of the district, Smith is all but certain to become the newest Show-Me State House member after the June 4 special election. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., resigned from Congress last month, prompting a special election to succeed her.
The 8th District, which stretches over a vast swath of the southeastern part of the state, including the Bootheel, is strongly Republican turf. In 2012, voters there only gave Barack Obama about 32 percent of the vote.
Roll Call rates the race as Safe Republican.
February 7, 2013
Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly will air her first television spot, marking the first Democratic candidate to hit the airwaves in the special election for former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s seat.
Her ad buy is for “at least” five figures on cable television in the 2nd District, according to a Kelly spokesman. The spot highlights Kelly’s support for gun control, a pivotal issue on Chicago’s South Side.
“In the legislature, she worked with Barack Obama to crack down on illegal gun sales,” a male narrator says. “In Congress, Kelly will keep taking on the NRA, fighting to ban assault weapons and outlaw high-capacity ammunition clips.”
November 28, 2012
But that’s exactly how things looked two years before the 2012 elections, when Democrats surprised many with victories in Missouri and North Dakota on their way to picking up two seats. So the challenge for the GOP and incoming National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran of Kansas is to capitalize on their opportunities.
That and how voters feel about President Barack Obama in 2014 could determine how the parties fare at the ballot box less than two years from now. Democrats won their current majority in 2006, in the second midterm election under President George W. Bush.
Republicans are hoping Obama’s second midterm is similarly kind to them, if not equal to the president’s 2010 midterm shellacking, when the GOP won seven seats (and control of the House) despite beginning the cycle as the underdog.
November 4, 2012
Heading into the final weekend of barnstorming before Election Day, there was a noticeable shift toward the GOP in many key House races while Democrats seem to be getting more good news than bad about the Senate map.
First, the Senate math:
Yes, it’s quite possible (even likely) that Democrats such as Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Bob Casey (Pa.) will have closer margins on Election Day than most expect. But Democrats are likely to hold both seats, and the climb for Republicans to net the four seats they need for an outright majority (if President Barack Obama is re-elected) seems steep heading into election week.
Here’s what we know: Republicans are likely to pick up two Senate seats in Nebraska and North Dakota (although the race there remains close). Those gains are likely to be offset by Democratic pickups in Massachusetts and Maine, where an Independent is poised to win and will likely caucus with Democrats. Assuming Republicans hold their seats in Arizona and Nevada, which seems like a good bet, that’s a zero net gain, leaving the chamber’s makeup at 53 Democrats and 47 Republicans. Full story
October 11, 2012
Democrat Rob Zerban, who is challenging vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan (R) in Wisconsin’s 1st district, will travel to Kentucky today for the vice presidential debate, his campaign announced.
Ryan, who is running simultaneously for the House and the White House, is still heavily favored in the race. But Zerban has proven to be a formidable candidate, outraising the well-funded Ryan in the third quarter by more than $200,000, bolstered by the support of liberal groups such as former Sen. Russ Feingold’s Progressives United and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. As Roll Call recently reported, Ryan has made ad reservations in the state to boost his re-election cause.
Roll Call rates this race as Safe Republican.
October 4, 2012
What a difference two years makes. At this point in 2010, as the GOP wave began to build, political handicappers and political operatives alike were trying to keep up with the number of newly competitive races moving onto the rapidly expanding House battleground. The same was true at this time in 2006 and 2008, when we were attempting to size up the coming Democratic waves.
Fast-forward two years, and a month before Election Day we are taking House races off the board, as it becomes clear to both parties that contests they hoped to put in play just haven’t materialized this cycle. We expect there may be a few less competitive races that begin to move in the competitive direction, but that hasn’t happened to a large extent at this point.
There is other significant movement in a handful of House races that we now rate as more likely than not to switch hands. GOP Reps. David Rivera (Fla.) and Ann Marie Buerkle (N.Y.) are in races that look to be increasingly uphill. Both face rematches from 2010 (although Rivera’s troubles have much more to do with his own ethics problems than the strength of his Democratic challenger).
In Senate race moves, we are moving two Democratic-held seats virtually off the board. Republicans always knew that Hawaii was going to be a tough race considering the overwhelming Democratic tilt of the state. But former Gov. Linda Lingle was the best possible candidate they could have gotten. However, it’s clear that the race really never got off the ground. Lingle would have had to run a flawless campaign AND Rep. Mazie Hirono (D) needed to stumble. Neither happened, and the race is now off the board. Full story
September 27, 2012
This is arguably the most volatile period for the House battleground map, as partisan operatives are making their final ad spending decisions and beginning to move money away from some races to put more resources into other contests.
The Senate map is much less fluid, yet this is the time when some races begin to fade in terms of their competitiveness and others become more so. In recent weeks we’ve seen the New Mexico Senate contest move to the less competitive category, while Connecticut and Indiana are now fully in play. We are still monitoring developments in Connecticut (and could make another ratings change there soon), but new polling in Indiana confirmed for us that a ratings change was due. Full story
September 24, 2012
Today, Roll Call moves two Florida House race ratings in the Democrats’ direction, while one New York House race ratings change favors the Republicans.
The honcho of hyperbole, the chief pooh-bah of provocation and the high baron of belittlement is poised to come to the 113th Congress. It’s Alan Grayson time. The former Congressman looks on track to comfortably beat long-shot GOP nominee Todd Long in a Democratic district and return to Washington, D.C. Roll Call moves this race to from Likely Democratic to Safe Democratic.
Embattled Rep. David Rivera (R) appears more and more vulnerable as reported federal investigations swirl around him. This race is now tighter than it was a few weeks ago — polls have shown the race to be close — and that moves it from Leans Republican to a Tossup.
Still, politics in Miami isn’t like other places in the United States. Rivera could well survive against Democratic nominee Joe Garcia, who lost Congressional races in 2008 and 2010. And longtime Florida Republicans are careful to never write off Rivera, who is seen as a survivor’s survivor.
“David Rivera could be standing in a burning building, the executioner could have a gun to his head and then a nuclear bomb could go off and you think, ‘He’s done,’” said Sunshine State GOP strategist Rick Wilson. “Next thing, David walks out the back door and asks if you want to go grab lunch.”
It doesn’t look as if this will be the year Democrats take out Rep. Richard Hanna (R). With the right candidate, maybe the freshman lawmaker could have been vulnerable. But just more than 40 days before the election, he appears to be in very comfortable shape in his race against former Congressional aide Dan Lamb (D). In a quick interview with Roll Call on Monday afternoon, a cheerful Hanna emphasized his constituent services, quick turnaround on casework and legislative record.
Roll Call moves his race from Likely Republican to Safe Republican.
August 24, 2012
Rep. Jeff Flake (R) has endorsed former Arizona state Speaker Kirk Adams over former Rep. Matt Salmon in the GOP primary to succeed Flake in Congress.
“With the primary election just days away, I’m being asked a lot about who I prefer for Congressional District Five,” Flake said in a statement. ”I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Matt Salmon, so my decision is not a matter of voting against someone, but rather for someone. That someone is Kirk Adams.
“I’ve known Kirk for years, and have watched his steady, thoughtful leadership as speaker of the Arizona House. I’m confident that, if elected, Kirk will provide the same conservative leadership in Washington,” he added.
August 16, 2012
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) officially endorsed Rep. Ben Quayle in his Member-vs.-Member primary against fellow Arizona Republican Rep. David Schweikert on Wednesday.
“I strongly recommend that he be re-elected,” McCain said at a Wednesday news conference.
The Quayle campaign posted the full video online:
August 14, 2012
Rep. John Mica, chairman of the powerful Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, beat tea-party-affiliated freshman Rep. Sandy Adams by a comfortable margin in today’s GOP primary for Florida’s 7th district, situated north of Orlando.
With 78 percent of precincts reporting, Mica had 61 percent of the vote, to Adams’ 39 percent.
The establishment gets a bum rap these days. Time spent in Washington, D.C., is politically pestilent. Earmarks have given way to an age of austerity. Compromise is out. The approval rating of Congress is at 10 percent.
But in today’s Republican Member-vs.-Member race between the establishment and the grass roots, the establishment won.
Despite being a longtime politician in D.C. — Mica was first elected in 1992 — and having a history of earmarking for his district, Mica’s voting record is hued quite red: He is a real conservative. But it was green, not red that kept this from being much of a race.
Mica had a very considerable money advantage going into the primary fight earlier this year, and Adams was never able to close the gap with her own fundraising. Outside groups didn’t come to her rescue in a substantial way either, despite endorsements from tea party heavyweights such as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) and firebrand Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.).
“You can have all the grass roots you want, but at some point there is just a money factor that just crushes,” explained one top Florida GOP strategist unaligned in the race. “We reached that point a few weeks ago.”
Mica also started out with a significant advantage in the number of voters in the district who knew who he was. First elected to an Orlando-area seat the same year Bill Clinton was first elected president, Mica is a familiar figure.
“The guy’s been advertising in the Orlando media market for like 20 years,” the strategist said.
Other Republicans watching the race were struck by the disparity in advertising between the two candidates.
“He’s been really strong down the stretch with a lot of TV,” said unaffiliated GOP consultant Tre’ Evers, who is based in central Florida. And Mica had “lined up almost all of the local mayors,” he said.
Adams ran a feisty campaign, but the money gap hampered her ability to paint a full contrast with Mica. She was also impeded by the fact that both are similarly conservative when their voting records are taken in total, Florida GOP insiders said.
The race grew particularly nasty at times, but that didn’t change the underlying fundamentals.
“All she had on him was that he’s served for a long time,” Evers said.
The district is comfortably Republican so Mica is almost certain to be joining the 113th Congress for his 11th term.
August 11, 2012
As Rep. Paul Ryan embarks on a national campaign, he will still have to run for re-election for his House seat.
Wisconsin law allows Ryan to seek both the vice presidency and another term in the House, and that is the understanding of what he will do, according to a Congressional campaign spokesman.
Ryan’s 1st district includes Republican pockets in the southeastern part of the state, and he won re-election last cycle by a 2-to-1 margin. The district was improved for him in redistricting. All of these points indicate that his re-election race should not be competitive, and Roll Call rates this race as Safe Republican.
But even before Ryan was picked as the vice presidential nominee, Democrats were making noise about giving him more of a race than he’s used to. He has a wealthy Democratic opponent, Rob Zerban, who has worked relentlessly to convince the political establishment that this is a real race. His argument is that Ryan has not had a serious opponent in years and that there is an opportunity for an organized Democrat to force an upset. Full story
August 10, 2012
Geauga County Prosecutor David Joyce (R) will take retiring Rep. Steven LaTourette’s (R) spot on the November ballot in Ohio’s 14th district.
Local Republican officials picked Joyce as their new Republican nominee today, a decision that virtually assures he will come to Congress in January.
July 31, 2012
Updated 9:43 p.m. | Former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, a virtual political unknown only a year ago, has shocked the Texas political system and defeated Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the GOP primary to replace retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, according to the Associated Press.
Cruz had 53.6 percent of the vote to Dewhurst’s 46.4 percent at the time the AP called the race, with just 22.5 percent of precincts reporting. Although that result was widely anticipated in the final days of the campaign, it cannot be emphasized enough how much of a stunning development this is.
Texas is not akin to GOP Sen. Dick Lugar’s loss in Indiana or in states where a tea party insurgent knocked off a party favorite in 2010.
The media market is one of the most expensive in the country, and the money needed to travel the geographic expanse sets the Lone Star State apart from other states. And yet, Cruz and his coalition of national tea party figures and groups such as the Club for Growth and Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) Senate Conservatives Fund beat the odds.
Nearly every GOP state Senator and Gov. Rick Perry (R) backed Dewhurst. Perry campaigned vigorously on his behalf. Republicans in the state disagree over whether Perry’s failed effort for Dewhurst will show weakness.
Cruz is all but assured he will be elected to the Senate in the fall.
Updated 9:43 p.m.
Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, praised Cruz in a press release shortly after the race was called.
“Ted believes, as I do, that we need to make Washington DC look a little more like the great state of Texas, and that starts with restoring common-sense, conservative values in our nation’s Capital,” he said.
“With a strong, hard-working ally in Ted Cruz, we will work to pass a balanced budget amendment, remove the federal government’s boot off the neck of our small businesses, and repeal-and-replace ObamaCare,” he added.
Chris Chocola, president of the Club for Growth, said in a press release that Cruz “clearly articulated the pro-growth message that Republican voters across the country have responded to.”
The Club for Growth PAC spent more than $5.5 million in independent expenditures on the campaign, according to the release.